Making a cool thing: Step 1 (Make it)

Nick Stebbs
2 min readMar 6, 2023

One day recently I decided to try and make a cool thing.
(DISCLAIMER: The author acknowledges the total subjectivity of cool and doesn’t care)

I looked for some inspiration.

I found some.

A spark of inspiration

I have always considered myself a bit of a generalist — a Jack of All Trades. This seemed when I was younger to be a disadvantage, but I have found since becoming a developer that it’s useful to be a dab hand at a lot of things (across the whole stack is a good start). Then you can pick the right tool for the job.

“This’ll be cool… I’ll make that image into a website”, I thought.

This is the point at which, if I was working in a team, somebody might’ve said something like: “ That’s a creative idea, Nick. Why don’t we talk about trying to incorporate it along-side some established design conventions…”

So I just built the thing, to discourage the idea from living rent-free in my mind. A bit of Figma here, a bit of Vue there (for the first time), and a big dollop of SVGator since I didn’t want to learn some new animation library just to make this one thing.

A look at the early design stages

And it worked great… kinda.

I had already realised it wouldn’t perform on a mobile device/tablet, so I put up a cheeky modal to recommend to people on those devices not to view it yet.

I deployed it on Netlify and sent the link to a few trusty colleagues.

I got back some positive and… honest… feedback, along the lines of:

“ That’s a creative idea, Nick. It’d be better if you tried to incorporate it along-side some established design conventions.”

Blast. I didn’t sign up for this. I just wanted to make a cool thing. Well, at least I had made it. Just had to live with the clawing interior feeling that there may be a good reason people design mobile-first.

Wait… there’s an idea!
Part two!